Energy Smart Government an Inconvenient Truth?

1 July 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

The Western Australian Auditor General’s Report on Energy Smart Government released yesterday, 30 June 2010, reveals a lack of leadership and commitment from the majority of government agencies to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Energy Smart Government program was to achieve a 12 per cent reduction in government’s energy consumption but only reduced consumption by 0.1 per cent.

The Auditor General’s Report explained that achieving reductions in energy consumption would have saved government money and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. One-third of participating agencies reporting reductions of 12 per cent or more, but their actions were offset by a lack of progress among the larger energy consuming agencies. The report also concluded a lack of effective strategic management and accountability also contributed to the failure to achieve overall program goals.

‘According to the Auditor General’s report, if agencies had met the target, government would have achieved gross savings of $25 million in energy costs over the first five years – this is about the same amount government is planning to spend on a net feed-in-tariff for renewable energy ’ says Prof. Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA).

The report noted “The first phase of the program did not result in a reduction in energy consumption largely because energy savings were identified but not implemented.”

‘Some agencies have made great savings in energy intensity and in absolute terms and they should be congratulated. But the valuable lessons are not being rolled out across government – for some agencies being smart has proven to be inconvenient and inaction will now cost the tax-payer,’ says Prof Wills.

‘We must fundamentally change the way we think about energy and how we do business.’

‘The inconvenient truth from the report is that economic reform is achievable – dedication to energy efficiency measures can deliver sustainable economic outcomes for government – and business,’ says Prof Wills.

Editors notes:

1. Western Australian Auditor General’s Report on Energy Smart Government released 30 June 2010

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